John Farr is the Bedford Playhouse Founder.
Many people think of The Bedford Playhouse as offering mainly older titles, but it just ain’t so. After all, classics come in all shapes, sizes and ages. The 10 recommendations below were all released over the past decade. Many are lesser-known films that audiences may have missed – a balanced mix of genres and moods, and of domestic, foreign, narrative and documentary titles.
1. Personal Shopper (2017): This subtle, spooky thriller concerns a young woman (Kristen Stewart) who works as a personal shopper to a celebrity. Her twin brother has recently died from a heart defect, a condition she shares. Adrift, she waits for some sign from the afterlife. Stewart is fabulous. Stream on: YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon
2. My Life as a Zucchini (2016): Here’s a touching animated feature that adults will love, too. Director Claude Barras employs stop-motion animation to tell the story of Courgette, a young boy who is sent to a group home when his mother dies. Depressing though it may sound, it’s actually colorful, wise and uplifting. Stream on: Netflix, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon, Microsoft Store, DIRECTV, Redbox
3. Testament of Youth (2015): This captivating romantic adventure features Alicia Vikander as a young woman whose entry to Oxford is upended by World War I. Soon, with her brother and fiancé both on the front lines, she enlists as a military nurse. Beautifully mounted, and brimming with period atmosphere. Stream on: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, FandangoNOW
4. 99 Homes (2015): A single dad (Andrew Garfield) gets evicted from the home he shares with his mother (Laura Dern) and son (Noah Lomax). Wanting to buy it back, he secretly goes to work for the slimy realtor who threw him out (Michael Shannon). A malignant Shannon shines in this scorching drama. Stream on: Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, FandangoNOW
5. The Seven Five (2015): This riveting doc tells the true tale of Michael Dowd, who joins the NYPD in the early eighties and is posted to a drug-ridden precinct in East New York. There, he and his accomplices engage in flagrant corruption. Eventually, the law they’re sworn to protect catches up to them. Stream on: Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon
6. Locke (2014): Tom Hardy plays the title character, a harried construction manager who, driving in his car one night, fields multiple phone calls of both a personal and professional nature. As time passes, it becomes clear that his life is coming apart. An actor’s showcase for the insanely talented Hardy. Stream on: Netflix, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, Microsoft Store, Redbox, FandangoNOW
7. Pride (2014): Bill Nighy stars in this winning, fact-based British sleeper. In 1984, with the country’s miners on strike, gay activists unite to support them, as both groups share an antipathy for the policies of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. After an awkward start, this unlikely alliance works wonders. Stream on: Google Play, YouTube, Amazon, Microsoft Store, Redbox, FandangoNOW
8. The Great Beauty (2013): Paolo Sorrentino’s eye-popping ode to Rome (and Fellini) is unforgettable. Toni Servillo plays Jep, a once-celebrated author who’s frittered away his talent by basking in the city’s party lifestyle. Now turning 65, Jep searches for some meaning to it all. This is one search you’ll want to join. Stream on: iTunes, Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Criterion Channel
9. Stories We Tell (2012): Canadian actor/director Sarah Polley takes us on a fearless excavation of her family and early life. While interviewing her siblings and father, she reminisces about her late mother, uncovering elements of mystery and regret. Then she uncovers a secret that rocks her world. Unmissable. Stream on: iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, Microsoft Store, Redbox, FandangoNOW
10. The Kids Are All Right (2010): This is a warm, witty comedy about two artificially conceived kids of lesbian partners who decide to find out who their real father is. Once he enters their lives, complications predictably ensue with the female parents. The sterling cast includes Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. Stream on: iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, Amazon, Microsoft Store, DIRECTV, Redbox, FandangoNOW
Click here for more of John Farr’s “Corona Watch Lists,” and other cultural offerings by Bedford Playhouse to enjoy from home.
A version of this article first appeared in the May issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.